A Survey among Dog and Cat Owners on Pet Food Storage and Preservation in the Households
Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giacomo Biagi
Received: 30 December 2020 / Revised: 18 January 2021 / Accepted: 19 January 2021 / Published: 21 January 2021
Proper dog and cat food preservation is fundamental to ensure the best quality of the diet right up to the moment of feeding, given that nutritional value, safety and sensory properties can be irreparably damaged by environment and time. To this end, a survey was conducted to explore how pet owners store both commercial and home-prepared diets. On the whole, despite the wide variability of practices adopted, most of the 2221 respondents implemented good storage management. Room temperature was the most overlooked parameter during storage, and this may be a cause of concern because exposure to warmth can enhance rancidity, especially in diet formulations rich in fats and oils. For this reason, veterinarians should provide precise instructions on storing perishable ingredients to those who feed home-prepared diets. Moreover, respondents of older generations appeared to distrust the use of preservatives in commercial pet foods and often deemed their inclusion harmful and unnecessary. Pet food manufacturers should discourage skepticism of the additives crucial to long-term commercial pet food conservation through better communication.